California gives gold miners the shaft

Dredging for gold, that’s the problem. It ruins the rivers they say. It kills the fish. It’s going to drag up all the harmful chemicals leftover from the gold rush. So say’s California.

Disabled gold dredge in Alaska, 1908

You picture in your mind a monstrous machine that scoops tons of crap from the river bottom and would, no doubt, ruin any environment it was allowed to exist in. But those rigs aren’t the dredges in question. California doesn’t have a problem with those ecological terrors. Heavens no! I mean you have to deepen the river channels for shipping and commerce don’t you, to hell the consequences. You bet. Those dredges are fine.

What we are talking about here is a piece of equipment that most closely resembles the shop vac in your garage. Yeah, that’s right, a glorified vacuum cleaner. That’s all a gold dredge is. Take a look at some these environmental assassins in operation in this very, very short “home” video, filmed on a real dredging job. Make up your own mind.

Now I don’t know about you but I didn’t see one fish there that looked even the tiniest bit upset.

But if you don’t believe just one simple home video, take a look another one. It’s only a minute and half long. You can spare that much time to understand an issue so important to so many, can’t you? I mean, you’re not in the legislature after all. They are certainly too busy to investigate something that has such a serious impact on the lives of their subjects, er, constituents.

It’s hard to admit but it does look like a pretty fun way to spend a summer day in some of the most beautiful country in the world, waist deep in a cool mountain stream. I can sure understand the state of California wanting to outlaw such pleasure, but to make it worse these people actually make money doing this. That’s right, I said they make money and that’s down right un-American. Who takes a takes a vacation and actually makes money at the same time? There must be something wrong. This dredging thing should be outlawed and these scofflaws punished to the full extent of the law. Empty the prisons, Sadie; we got a new crop of crooks coming. Here, take a minute and a half and see for yourself. It’s gold, real gold, right from that beautiful, cool, clear water. It’s got to be illegal.

Okay it didn’t look like anybody was ruining the river and the fish seemed fine, nobody was after them for lunch after all, and the chemicals, a little rain would likely wash them up, if they were there in the first place. It’s a shame though, all those good folks who run motels, gas stations, restaurants and the gold mining supply stores will take it on the chin and they didn’t do anything wrong. But times are tough and that’s what happens in tough times and our state law makers are here to make dang sure that nobody misses out on the new life of hardship because some people choose to have a little highly profitable fun. Heavens no!

But looking at these videos does tend to make a person want to go gold mining, don’t they!



  1. California. What can I say? Businesses are departing & taking their jobs with them. They’re letting convicted felons out of jail because of overcrowding and putting the public at risk. Etc.

    In the ’60’s I had a bumper sticker on my car: Do not Californicate (this state). Maybe we should revive it. 🙂

    It’s interesting to find another author about the gold rush days, but my novels are set in Montana’s gold rush during the Civil War. Best of luck to you!

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